This story is part of the COE Final Reckoning series and follows on from the events of COE Final Reckoning Minion of Darkness, COE Final Reckoning After the Minion, COE Final Reckoning ID War, Crisis of Faith.
The Acceptance of Destinies
By the Q-team
By the Q-team
It didn't seem like too long that the Zeo Rangers had found out that their new Silver Zeo Ranger was Cassidy Bridges, had gone to her father's house to smooth things over with him, and spent some time getting to know her when Kat got a phone call on her cell phone. When she eard the voice on the other line Kat was numb with shock and disbelief. "No... it's not possible... they told us she was dead..." Katherine muttered.
Everyone looked to see Kat in shock. Tommy then picked up the cell phone when he saw her face. "Who is this!"
"Hello Tommy. How have you been?"
Tommy then gripped the phone as Kat looked at him asking if it was who she thought it was. His response then answered that. "Kaat... you're supposed to be dead."
"It's Ivy now Tommy and Kaat is dead as is Daavid. We'd had it with Biilly and his stupid, insane leadership and wanted out of the Psycho Rangers before we got killed. Fact of the matter is I don't want to have anything to do with Rangers or Angel Grove anymore. I've had my share of the whole 'kill Zordon and the Rangers game'. Which brings me to why I called. I want to meet with sis in person."
"Like hell you are. How do I know you're going to come alone, and how the hell do I know you aren't going to be doing anything to Katherine?" Tommy asked.
"You can come along if you want. But only you. I'll be in Golden Gate Park by the fountain in an hour. I'll be wearing a white suit. And don't think that looking for Katherine in the crowd is going to work because it won't. I have a new face as does Daniel. I just want to talk about things. It's all your choice... but its your loss if you don't show up." The phone went dead.
"Who was that?" Nash asked.
Tommy paused for a moment and then answered Nash's question. "Someone who should be dead. Kaat. The Pink Psycho Ranger."
"KAAT?!" Katarina answered. "How can that be?"
"That's what Kaat wants to tell us I guess. She wants me and Kat to meet her in Golden Gate Park alone. "Cassidy wondered who Kaat was and Lillian quickly brought Cassidy up to speed. "Kaat and Daavid were two of Minion's Psycho Rangers. But what they're doing alive I have no idea."
Tommy promised to let the Outsiders know what Kaat was up to, and if possible, how she survived. "Be careful." Lillian said giving Tommy a peck on the cheek for luck.
"I will Lillian. We both will." Tommy and Kat then went to the elevator and went down to meet Kat's 'evil twin'.
In a corner of the moon that sits dormant and forgotten the Machine Skybase sits dead. Apparently.
In reality, the Machine Skybase is teeming with life as Cylon Centurions led by Specter were beginning salvage operations hoping to acquire any technology and information they could acquire. Their efforts met with limited success as most of the technology was shorted out due to the EMP wave, but enough remained for the possibility of reverse engineering. As did the protected archives that held all the Machine Empire's information regarding the Rangers, the UAE, anything.
A Centurion came up to Specter holding a small round robot creature. It was Orbus. "Who are you people? This is King Mondo's skybase. You are not welcome here."
Specter paid Orbus's defiance no mind. He took the little robot and studied it diligently. "Hmm. You were the one who helped the monsters of the Machine Empire grow were you not?"
Orbus looked at the red eyes and flashing smile of Specter and felt very nervous. "Yeah? So?"
Specter handed the squirming Orbus to a nearby Centurion. "Take this back for reverse engineering. It's growth capabilities could be useful to the Cylon Empire."
"By your command." The Centurion had said. All the way Orbus had screamed "No let me go!" Specter paid it no mind as he continued to look through the Machine Empire's files, and scanned across something that peaked his curiosity, a project for a human replica droid.
"Hmmm. Now this could be interesting." Specter thought as he read the description. Mondo thought having a robot impersonate a Ranger, or one of their friends, to help lead the Rangers into a trap where the Machines would destroy them. Due to the EMP wave Mondo never got the chance to pursue this project.
Specter however saw much potential in the project and downloaded the file Mondo had. There would be some Cylon modifications to Mondo's idea as Specter figured out how to best put it to use.
Kat and Tommy waited for an hour in Golden Gate Park for Kaat to arrive. Their patience paid off.
"I told you I am alone on the phone and I am wearing a white suit. What part of 'I am alone' do you not comprehend?"
Tommy and Kat turned around and faced the girl that had passed herself off as just another person speaking to them. It was Ivy.
"Oh my god." Kat muttered.
"And could you stop with the gawking. You're going to draw attention I don't want." Ivy replied.
"You already got our attention by calling. What's your game Kaat?" Tommy asked.
Ivy frowned. "For the last time Tommy, Kaat is dead. My name is Ivy. Get that through that thick skull of yours."
"So what do you want?" Kat asked. "And how the hell were you able to get a new face?"
Ivy just smirked. "Do you two want to meet my dad?"
They just blinked at her. "You don't have a father unless of course you mean my father." Katherine said.
Ivy groaned as she then started to speak louder. "Once again! I am NOT you! I will never be you! I am not Kaatherine Hillard! MY NAME IS IVY HOWARD! GOT IT!!!"
This took both of the Zeo Rangers of guard as Ivy looked at them. "I don't want to kill you anymore Katherine... just don't want to be compared to you or referred to as some damn inferior copy! I have my own life now! My own identity and I'll be damned if I'll allow anyone to ruin it for me!"
"Alright. You want us out of your life. Explain to us how you're still alive." Tommy stated.
Ivy smiled. "Fine then. Guess you won't be surprised to hear that I'm also working for someone like Gaudeamus just like your Outsiders are." She smirked when she saw their look. "Oh we've been aware of it for sometime now. We meaning me and my father."
"And your father is who?" Kat asked.
Ivy was about to talk but then said, "I think I'll let you find that out by yourselves. All you have to do is ask one of the Bogards or look up my last name in the newspapers. Then you'll know about my father. By the way, he hates the UAE. He's already made that idiot Grimlord fall before him."
"What?" Tommy asked.
"I suspect Grimlord is only now recovering from daddy's attack." Ivy smiled. "In any case father's a pro-human race, anti-UAE, therefore Rangers are not on his target list. Therefore you don't have to worry about me, my father or anyone of us attacking you. He's also got something to tell you. We stay out of your business, we expect you to do the same. We haven't done anything to you, we should hope you will do the same."
"Personally I find this hard to believe that your 'dad' could have beaten Grimlord. Not to mention you're not that much of a fighter." Tommy said.
Ivy smirked. "I was hoping you would say that." She then faced bunch of trees and raised her hand. "REPPU KEN!!!" a violet energy wave erupted from her hand and annihilated the trees but didn't start a fire. "Pure ki doesn't cause things to burn. Got to love that bonus when blowing things up." She then looked at the two staring Rangers. "Oh come on. By now I assume Laocorn told you about the Armor of Mars. Don't tell me you think this hard to swallow." She then shrugged as she saw a limo come up in a small distance. "Well that's my ride. I've got to get back to work. I'm seeing the mayor about where to send the rest of our construction crews to help rebuild San Francisco. Being a Vice President means lots of responsibility as well as lots of power." She then smiled sharply at the Zeo Rangers. "I'll be in touch again. See ya." With that she left them as she went into the limo and left the park.
Kat and Tommy were left in shock. "How could she possess that kind of power?" Kat asked.
"I don't know Kat." Tommy answered then they cast their gaze on a newspaper on a park bench and Tommy immediately read the front page article. The article said 'NEW FINANCIER ADDED TO SAN FRANCISCO REBUILDING' As Tommy continued to read the article he came across one name in particular. Geese Howard.
"What parent in their right mind names their child Geese?" Kat asked.
Tommy didn't answer Kat's question as he continued to read the article aloud. "In the business world Southtown Financier Geese Howard along with his daughter Ivy have announced their plans to spearhead the reconstruction process of most of San Francisco. Their immediate plans indicate beginning at the famed riverfront restoring the San Francisco piers." Tommy and Kat then shared a look and decided that it might be a good time to pick a Bogard's brain. Getting on his communicator Tommy contacted Cassidy.
"Do you know where Alison lives?" Tommy asked.
"Yeah why?" Cassidy said on the other end of the line after giving the address.
"We need to ask what they know about a Geese Howard." He said as he and Kat made their way to the firehouse.
At the underground base Circuit Breaker was overseeing the evacuation of the Cylon's San Francisco base. Iblis said that since the Rangers knew an entry point that it would not be safe to be there much longer. "Do not worry. I will be leaving to make arrangements elsewhere. When those arrangements are met the transwarp corridors will transport the Cylon forces there."
"I'll stay and monitor the evacuation along with Specter." Circuit Breaker said. Iblis looked at his warrior and asked if she was all right.
"Silver powers." She explained. "They are more focused on healing me and it's taking a lot to do it. I wish I was able to drain both those Silver Rangers instead of one. But I have to work with what I have."
"On the bright side you will not need the mobility unit anymore, and your Circuit Breaker powers will join those of your Psycho Silver ones. And soon none will stand in your way."
Circuit Breaker agreed. "Until then I only have five minutes of fighting power if I need to fight, and I'm tired more often than not as the power heals me. Don't worry, you'll always look after me."
Iblis nodded and left Circuit Breaker to help supervise the evacuation as Specter appeared. He however was silent as he looked at Iblis as if saying that he only wished to speak with him. Iblis took that with interest as he went to speak to the cogitator.
"My dear Count. We have completed our reconnaissance of the Machine Empire Skybase. And while it is unusable to us as a base we were able to pick up some elements for reengineering. We have returned with them until such time as a new base is located."
"While I appreciate your candor why are you only telling me about this?" Iblis asked. "Should not your commander be made aware of this as well? " Iblis said making reference to Josie.
Specter nodded and then continued. "There was something that I believed deserves your attention exclusively." Specter then showed Iblis the file and the Count was aware of what Specter's idea was. "The Omega project?"
"Yes. I am aware that the Leader cancelled this project yaharns ago due to the cost being far from manageable, but it appears that the Machine Empire was working on a similar project themselves. All we have to do is finish it for them."
"And perhaps improve upon it." Iblis sneered. "Very well I shall take this back to the Leader for his approval. In the meantime tell Circuit Breaker that you have visited the Machine base and have taken information she can use. Do not tell her of this yet."
"Do not tell her?" Specter asked. "Why not?"
"Because I want to be certain that it will work." Iblis said. "Regardless of the cost. Specter understood. "By Your Command." He said as he went to Circuit Breaker to tell what of his findings he could. Josie smiled as she thought of the Machine Empire's tools being used against them.
Iblis however faded from view making his way across the cosmos.
The Imperious Leader again sat on the high seat of command ready to commune with the darkness once again. "They are ready. The ships will be ready to activate their warp corridors and rendezvous at the co-ordinates you have provided." The Leader said.
"Excellent." The darkness that was Iblis said. "But one thing remains. I wish that the Omega Project be reactivated."
"The Omega Project?" the Leader asked. "A most expensive and controversial project."
"But one that can provide us with immediate gains if used properly. I am sending you some data which should help facilitate it better." The third brain of the Imperious Leader absorbed the information Iblis was sending about the Machine Empire's project and already the Leader was processing how it could be put to use for the Cylons. The processing didn't take too long as the Leader then transported the information to a ship that would begin the work while en route to its destination.
"A DNA sample will be needed. Can you provide one?" the Leader asked.
"Of course. the Darkness said as it then faded from view. The Leader once again sat alone in silent contemplation looking to the future.
A future where the thirteenth tribe would be exterminated.
Back on Earth outrage was being expressed. "GEESE HOWARD?!" Alison shot. "What's that bastard doing here?"
The Zeo Rangers and the Astro Rangers all met at Alison's place and were very curious about Alison's reaction. "Alison, what's up?" Cassidy asked.
"Her outrage is shared by all of us." Terry said as he indicated Andy and Mai. Joe stood off to the side listening. "We've had prior history with Geese."
"Something tells me that it isn't good history." Tommy said. "Who is Geese Howard by the way?"
"Well he's been listed as one of the sponsors in the San Francisco rebuilding." T. J. said. "I saw it on the news."
"He's got to be up to something." Andy said. "We've never known Geese to have an ounce of humanity in him unless he got something out of the deal."
Cassidy went up to her friend and asked "Alison, what do you know of Geese? Why do you hate him so much?"
Alison turned to Cassidy and said flat out "He murdered my Uncle Jeff. Jeff being Terry and Andy's father."
This got a startle from all the Rangers. "What?" Carlos shouted. "Why isn't he in jail?"
"Because Geese bought off all the police and politicians in Southtown." Terry answered. "There's a reason why he's called the King of Southtown. He owns almost everything there."
Terry then closed his eyes as he seemed to relive the memory of his father's death. Samantha then came forward and put her hand on his shoulder almost as if telling him that it was okay. Turning to Andy he saw that Kat was comforting Andy, with the help of Mai.
"You don't have to tell us if you don't want to." Samantha said.
"No." Terry said. "I think you Rangers need to hear this. You may wind up having to face Geese at some point. You'll need to know how much of a monster he is. "And with that Terry told the story of what happened the day his father was killed.
Terry and Andy stood on the bridge, watching their father play with the children that were surrounding him. Jeff Bogard had a way with kids, and he loved looking after them.
"Sir do you have any change? Anything at all?" one little boy asked. Jeff couldn't help but smile at the innocence reflected in the young child's eyes, and saw that reflected in all the children's eyes. "I will see if you all let go of me." Jeff Bogard answered.
Terry and Andy smiled as Master Tung Fu Ru looked on as well. Jeff Bogard was his best pupil, and the one chosen to uphold the secrets of the Hakkyokusaiken school. At this moment however Master Tung had no idea that those secrets were being stolen and the guardians of those secrets killed. Nor what was to come next.
A little girl with blue/green hair and a basket of flowers then walked up to Jeff and the kids and she asked him "Sir would you like to buy one of my flowers?" just as a black car drove up and two men got out. Jeff looked at the little girl and said "Of course I will." As he reached into his pocket to get out some of the change the children around him were asking for.
That was when the two men made their move.
They came at Jeff Bogard with knives. Jeff warned the kids away but they were too scared to move. They held onto Jeff tightly unaware that by doing so made him a sitting duck to the two knived attackers. He drove one back with a side kick, but the other came in from behind and got in a stab from behind. The kids then fell away and Jeff summoned all his fighting spirit and got in another side kick knocking out the other assailant.
But the damage was done, and all Terry and Andy could do was watch. Jeff was weakened by the stab wound and fell to his knees. When he looked up he saw someone who he thought was his friend looking down on him. Someone who orchestrated the whole attack.
"Geese." Jeff Bogard managed to say as he looked up at the smiling face of Geese Howard. Jeff knew that Geese had something to do with the attack, and summoned up the last of his strength to face his former friend. Sadly it wasn't enough.
Silent the whole way through Geese called up a violent wave that tore through Jeff Bogard knocking him back down to the ground and injuring him further. Then he gave the final shot, a punch to the stomach which killed Jeff Bogard.
"FATHER!" Andy and Terry shouted running over to their father's body as Geese and the blue haired girl walked to an approaching limo. Geese's job finished.
"I don't believe it." Adam said. "Why did Geese kill your father and the guardians of the secrets?"
"Master Tung had chosen our father to be the head of the Hakkyoukusaiken school over Geese." Terry explained. "The reason was because father was more in tune with nature while Geese sought to dominate it. And it was because of this drive for domination that Geese was not chosen."
"And when Geese got the secrets and killed your father that put him in line for sucession?" Rocky asked. Terry nodded yes.
Everyone was stunned. Cassidy was the first to speak. "There was no evidence?"
"Oh, there was evidence." Terry said. "But it was swept under the rug."
"And the children were witnesses, but they were too scared to speak. The one who held my father last while Geese got in his killing blow was working for Geese." Andy added.
"Her name was Lily." Terry said. "I saw her again years later, only for Geese to kill her when she tried to help me escape from him." Terry bowed his head in sorrow as he remembered Lily falling from the arena window where the King of Fighters tournament was held.
"Lily and Terry fell in love." Joe then said. "Terry had a hard time getting over her death." ~ And that of Sulia~ he mentally added. Alison immediately decided to get back to the topic of Geese not wanting to keep Terry's mind on bad memories.
"Geese had everyone in his pocket. The mayor, the police, even the City Council. Nothing happens in Southtown without Geese's say so." As the Rangers listened to Alison they found themselves really starting to get angry, Cassidy especially.
"Well he's never met my father." Cassidy said as she went to the phone to call him. Alison stopped her however. "No Cass. Don't!" Alison pleaded.
Cassidy looked confused. "But why?"
"She's concerned for you Cassidy." Terry said. "Alison doesn't want you to lose your father as Andy and I have lost ours. She also doesn't want to lose you. "Cassidy smiled thankful for her friend's concern.
"But we can't just sit back and do nothing." Adam said. "Who knows what Geese will do next?"
"All we can do now is wait." Terry said. "Wait for Geese to make his move. Then we strike."
"But by then it will be too late." Cassidy said. "At least let me tell my father about him. I'll ask him not to move against him, unless he can find some way to arrest him."
"That may be easier said than done." Joe said. "Geese is probably already making inroads in San Francisco right now with politicians and other officials. The longer he's in town the more influence he will acquire."
"It could be dangerous Cassidy." Andros added. "If this 'Geese Howard' is capable of murdering another man, and for defeating Grimlordï¿½"
"I've never met Grimlord." Cassidy answered. "But I can't just do nothing."
Blue Mary then made her presence known. "All right Cassidy, you can tell your father. But I'll have to insist that Terry and I be present. Terry can explain Geese better that anyone, and since I've worked with Law Enforcement in the past my presence could be of great benefit."
"Fair enough." Cassidy said. "If daddy is going to run into Geese. He needs to be prepared for him." Cassidy then grabbed her jacket and then went out to the van where Terry and Mary climbed in as well. Soon the three drove off to the ferry boat where the S. I. U. was now stationed. Alison looked on and watched as Cassidy, Terry and Mary drove off concerned for the safety of all three.
"That's some friend you've got Alison." Joe said.
"The best." Alison answered. Then she turned to look at Tommy and the Zeos. "She's going to make a great Ranger."
"Yeah." Tommy said in agreement. "I know she will."
Back in Angel Grove a there is a bedroom which has not been slept in for quite sometime.
It is kept well preserved as if in memory of its previous occupant. An occupant who is now dead. An occupant who was Jessie Belle.
Since Jessie's death no one had been in the bedroom other than Mrs. Belle who had straightened up and dusted from time to time. Today however Jessie's bedroom would get another visitor.
Iblis appeared and looked around the room scanning for what he was looking for when finally he found it on Jessie's nightstand. Her hairbrush, which still had some strands of hair still on it. He was glad of this since that meant he would not have to do any grave robbing even though he wondered if robbing Jessie's grave would have provided a better dramatic impact for what was planned. Iblis however decided against that.
"The brush will be enough." Iblis said as he took the brush and faded from the room. When Mrs. Belle would return later in the afternoon she would find the brush returned to where it was left, but the hair strands in it would be gone.
At the ferry boat which was S. I. U. headquarters Nash was setting up his desk as Mary Cassidy and Terry told him the same story the Rangers were told. "And there was no evidence of any kind?" Nash asked. "Didn't the U. S. Marshalls intervene?"
"They tried Inspector." Mary said. "They had been blocked off by attempts by the Southtown police and City Council until such time as the evidence could be 'appropriately disposed of' as it were."
Nash seethed. He didn't like it when a criminal got away with murder, let alone any crime. He had to do something but if what his daughter, Blue Mary and Terry Bogard said was true and that Geese Howard wasn't any other criminal.
"And since he's committed no crime in San Francisco there's no way I can arrest him on anything." Nash stated. "Is there anything else you can tell me about him? Anything at all?"
"Geese is one who thrives on the acquisition of power." Terry said. "He wants to obtain as much as he can. The rebuilding of San Francisco is just another opportunity for him to establish his power base elsewhere, or with someone."
"So we have to find out who or what that is, and cut Geese off at the pass." Cassidy said. "Sounds easier said than done."
"With Geese everything is easier said than done." Mary said. "And how praytell do we find out what Geese is interested in here? Follow him around?"
"Ourselves? No." Nash answered. "But there may be someone who can help in that regard. And they aren't connected to the city."
"Laocorn Gaudeamas?" Cassidy asked.
"Fight a billionaire with a billionaire sweetheart. I just hope he'll be up to this."
"Don't worry Inspector. I know Laocorn myself. I'm sure he can help us." Terry said.
Nash then picked up the phone and gave Laocorn a call. Panni answered and immediately transferred Nash to Laocorn, who was sparring on the patio. "Inspector Bridges. To what do I owe the honor of this call?"
"A question to ask Laocorn." Nash immediately cut to the chase. "What do you know of Geese Howard?" Nash could hear Laocorn sigh as Geese's name was mentioned.
"Official or unofficial?"
"Both." Nash answered. "Geese is in town and there are some here who believe that he's up to no good. And if he's already got some links to the city alreadyï¿½"
"Understandable Inspector." Laocorn said. "Geese may already have some officials in his pocket. But a private citizen like myselfï¿½"
"Could possibly check around and get some answers." Nash said completing Laocorn's sentence. "I'm not one for putting citizens at risk, but I had a feeling that you may be the only one who can stand up to him on an even keel. Besides, you're no ordinary citizen."
Laocorn smiled at the other end. "That much is certain. By the way how's Cassidy doing?"
"She's fine. You want to say hello?" Nash held up the phone and Cassidy shouted "Hi Laocorn. Terry's here with me too."
As if on cue Terry then spoke. "Laocorn. It's good to hear from you again. I take it you are well?"
"Yes Terry." Laocorn said. "As well as we both can expect." Terry nodded as he understood where Laocorn was coming from. Cassidy picked up the tone in Laocorn's voice and saw the look in Terry's eyes as she realized they were talking about the same thing. ~ Sulia. ~ she deduced.
Nash however kept to business and went back to speaking to Laocorn. "So are you in?"
Laocorn paused for a second then spoke again. "Come to my office at 11: 00 tomorrow. We can see if we can develop a strategy then." Nash agreed and then hung up the phone. "Well Laocorn's agreed to meet with me. I'll see then if we can get him on our side."
"Thank you Inspector." Mary said. "Any help you can give would be most appreciated." Then she and Terry left the ferry. On the way out Mary saw Lt. A. J. Shimamura with a box in his hands putting things in a car. "A. J. what's up?" Mary asked.
"Passed over for the Captain's promotion." A. J. said. "Even with the attack by the Cylons someone else got the job."
"Oh man I'm sorry." Mary said.
"Well I was offered the test in another five years. But I promised myself that if I didn't get the job now I'd go home." Mary listened to A. J. 's explanation and told him to take care of himself.
"Don't worry. Nash is running the show now. He'll do good. I already gave my goodbye to him. And he hates goodbyes. "" Mary nodded and ave A. J. a hug. The two did have a few cases together whenever she was in San Francisco, now if she wanted to see A. J. she would have to go to Honolulu.
"Take care will you?" Mary asked. A. J. said that he would.
As Mary said goodbye to A. J. Cassidy then went to her father and said "I'm going to be at Alison's for a little while. If Laocorn calls Terry will be there too."
"I'll make sure he knows. Take care of yourself sweetheart." Nash then kissed his daughter goodbye and she walked out with Terry and Blue Mary. As Nash watched her leave he felt so many conflicting emotions within him.
One was pride that his daughter was turning into such a strong young woman.
The other was concern for her welfare. Nash didn't want to see his little girl get killed like her predecessor had been.
Being a Ranger meant living a very dangerous life... with many enemies.
At the Outsiders penthouse everyone was starting to get worried. Their teammate Terry 'Jinx' Jones was supposed to have gone back to the penthouse, but no one had seen hide nor hair of her.
"This is not like Terry." Jamie said. "Sure she's a little more spirited than most, but even she knows when it's time to call it quits with the attitude."
"Besides 'Absolutely Fabulous' is coming on. She never misses that." Katarina added.
Tyler heard all his teammates had to say, and even he had no sure answers to give. He did have one speculation though. "Could Biilly be behind this?"
"Not likely." Christina said. "Snatch and grab is not his style." Everyone agreed with that.
Tyler then activated the viewphone as Panni's face appeared. "I'm sorry Tyler. Laocorn's not in. He has a meeting with an old 'acquaintance' that demands his attention." Tyler caught the underlying tone in Panni's voice. The 'acquaintance' must have been bad news for Laocorn to be away from his office.
"When Laocorn gets in tell him Terry's missing. She disappeared last night and no one's seen her since. We believe someone may have abducted her." Panni listened to Tyler's report and said "I'll have search teams scour the area. Stay where you are in case someone tries to call."
Lillian sighed. "I don't like sitting around, but I guess we'll wait for now." The Outsiders then cut the vid link wondering where their friend 'Jinx' was.
"AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!" Terry 'Jinx' Jones cried out as she felt the laser whip crack over her exposed back. She was being suspended by cords in a very dark place.
"I hope this hurts." Her tormenter said as she then came into the light.
"Got to hell Triini!" Jinx spat.
It was then she dropped the whip, and then disengaged the cords. As Jinx fell she lunged at the replica but she moved so fast it was as if she wasn't even there... but her fist was in her gut. "FOR!" she then got an elbow strike to her back sending her to the ground. "THE!" she then was kicked hard in her head. "LAST!" a kick to her ribs. "TIME!" Jinx was then pulled up to her feet only to meet a fist in her face. "MY!" Another fist to the face. "NAME!" A third. "IS!" She then let her hand be engulfed by fire and then "KALI!!!"
When her flame engulfed fist hit Jinx, an explosion of ki occurred and it was more than enough to render her unconscious as well as send her through the cell they were in.
Kali Yagami then forced herself to calm down, her eyes lowering their shade from bright crimson brimstone to her normal scarlet. She then looked over at her captive. "Damn it. I used too much. I'm glad I didn't go berserk. I still need her alive."
Snapping her fingers she then ordered some of her 'doctors' to tend to Jinx to make sure she survived and was ready in thirty minutes for phase two.
After all a demonstration is much more effective when you show a rehealed victim instead of a burned one.
~I'm coming for you Alison. ~ Kali laughed as she prepared the next move in her game of chess.
At an undisclosed location an IL cogitator, much like Specter, was working in a lab when the Imperious Leader appeared on his view monitor. "By your command." The cogitator bowed and spoke again.
"The data has been received. We shall be ready to begin as soon as we have secured the DNA sample."
"The object that contains the sample should be arriving shortly." The Leader said. Then, as if right on cue, Iblis appeared with Jessie Belle's hair brush in hand. The cog took the brush and scanned it quickly. "DNA samples located and are intact."
"Then begin initiation of the Omega Protocols." The Leader ordered. The cog responded with "By your command." And cut transmission. The cog also looked for Iblis, but he was gone too. Not wasting time wondering where he had gone the cogitator began work synthesizing the hair strands on Jessie's brush.
Which was the first step to the Omega Protocols.
What the protocols would mean to the Rangers could be nothing more than disaster.
At the San Francisco branch of Howard Enterprises Geese and Ivy walked out of the office building only to find a man in a suit, a girl in silver and one of his business competitors, Laocorn Gaudeamas standing behind a 1971 Plymouth Hemicuda. Geese didn't know the man and girl, but there was no mistaking Gaudeamas.
"Father who is that?" Ivy asked her 'dad'.
"Laocorn Gaudeamas. From the Armor of Mars incident I told you about." Geese said. "The other two I don't know of however."
"Perhaps we should introduce ourselves." Ivy said with a smile. However when she saw the girl in Silver she started to sense a little something about her. Something different yet familiar. But as Geese came up to Gaudeamas he remained his cordial self. "Ah Laocorn a pleasure to see you." Geese said offering his hand.
Laocorn however didn't take it. He just kept his eyes dead even on Geese who continued speaking. "So what do I owe the honor of this visit?"
It was then the man in the suit stepped forward. "Mr. Howard, I'm Inspector Nash Bridges. S. F. P. D. This is my daughter Cassidy."
Ivy made note of this especially as she turned to look at Cassidy, and never taking her eyes off the Silver Zeo. "What can we do for you Inspector?" Ivy then asked.
"Well bubba. I've heard a few things about you." Nash said to Geese. "And I figured I would welcome you personally to out fair city of San Francisco. But then you probably had welcomes from the mayor, city council, and so many others why would you be interested in meeting a lowly joe like me."
"The thought has crossed my mind Inspector." Geese said trying to sound civil.
"Well a name came across my doorstep relating to you. Jeff Bogard. Perhaps you've heard of him?" Nash inquired. Ivy looked at Geese who hadn't changed his expression. Clearly Geese kept his poker face well in place.
"He was a friend, and a fellow student. We had the same master."
"Master Tung right?" Cassidy asked. Geese then turned to Cassidy and asked "Who might you be young miss?"
"Cassidy Bridges. Alison Bogard's friend."
"I see." Geese said. "So the Bogards had found someone new to spread their wild accusations to."
"Not so wild in my view. Nor in Alison's" Cassidy said back glaring at Geese. This caused Ivy to step in. "Watch what you're saying little girl. You don't want to make my father upset."
"Whoa hold up sister." Nash said holding Ivy back. He also shot a look at Cassidy telling her to cool her jets too. Laocorn then placed his hand on Cassidy's shoulder telling her that Nash knew what he's doing. Nash then looked at Geese and continued to speak.
"I heard the report and read the casefile. And that file seemed to be so full of holes, especially since when Jeff Bogard would pass away you get control of the karate school both you and Jeff trained at. If I didn't know any better I'd swear that was motive for murder bubba. Of course the report made it look like Jeff Bogard was attacked by two knived thugs, but I don't think knived thugs would do the damage that was shown in Jeff's autopsy report which read like a who's who of injuries."
"What is your point Inspector?" Geese said.
"Simply put. This is not Southtown. You don't own everything or everyone here. Step out of line, and I'll see to it the hammer falls down on you bubba." Geese heard Nash's words and didn't seem bothered by them. "And how do you plan to stop me?" Geese asked.
"With my help." Laocorn said. "Unlike you, I have been in San Francisco a lot longer than you. So I have more connections than you do. And unlike you I earn my allies respect."
"And daddy doesn't?" Ivy spoke up.
"Not if bribery and intimidation are ways to earn respect." Cassidy said.
"What I'm saying is this bubba." Nash then got in Geese's face. "You step out of line in my city I'll make sure you get what's coming to you. And I got friends to back me up if I go down."
"Also stay away from the Bridges, they are under my protection." Laocorn added.
"As well as any friends of them. Which included the Bogards." Cassidy also said. A nod from Laocorn indicated that she said the right thing. But Geese was still not impressed.
"Are you finished?" he asked.
"For now. But I'll bet I'll be seeing you again." Nash said as he Cassidy and Laocorn made their way to the 'Cuda and Nash turned to Geese and added "Remember step out of line, I'll be coming down on you." Nash then got in the 'Cuda's front seat with Cassidy as Laocorn took he back seat.
Geese and Ivy watched Cassidy, Nash and Laocorn leave in the 'Cuda. "Will they be a problem father?" Ivy asked.
"Gaudeamas perhaps." Geese said. "He's so eaten up with saving the planet after his sister's death he'll go after anyone he perceives as an 'evil' threat. The good Inspector I'm not concerned withï¿½right now."
"Right now?" Ivy asked.
"Just because people don't have the power we have doesn't mean that they aren't threats. I can tell from the Inspector that there are some things he doesn't understand about our world, but he has his own strengths. Strengths that if turned against us could destroy us if we're not careful."
"Could he find out about Jeff Bogard?" Ivy then asked.
"What he knows is what everyone else knows but can't prove." Geese reassured his 'daughter'. "Right now he was just getting in my face letting me know who he is and where he stands with me."
"And where does he stand with you father?"
"He stands as someone looking out for his family and friends. Nothing more." Geese then picked up the file in his briefcase and opened it so Ivy could have a look.
The name said 'Bridges, N. ' "Where did you get that?" Ivy asked.
"City council was gracious to provide me with a copy." Geese explained with a smile. "They thought it would be good if I knew who the best officials in this fair city were." Geese opened the file and read some highlights from it. First off was a rogues gallery of some of Nash's most dangerous cases and adversaries. The list read like a who's who of crime: Frankie Dwyer, Big Tiny, Tamara Van Zant, Eldin Sistrunk, the Zodiac killer. Anyone of them would take Geese's money to kill Nash if they had to. ~ Except for Tamara Van Zant. But I'm sure I canï¿½convince her if need be. ~
Ivy also read some exerts. "Father, this is interesting. I didn't know Inspector Bridges had problems with Management Control."
"Yes." Geese agreed. "They view Inspector Bridges as a maverick who doesn't follow policy all that well. They have tried to neutralize him, but nothing sucessfulï¿½yet."
"I take it you can find something useful father?" Ivy asked. Geese nodded.
"The Inspector can be dealt with if need be." Geese said. "But his daughterï¿½"
"I know." Ivy said. "She has the Silver Zeo shard. I could sense it's power but I didn't realize it until now that she had it."
Geese nodded then turned to Ivy and said "You have had the most experience with Rangers. What should we do about her?"
Ivy thought for a moment. "For the moment nothing. We have no reason to move against Zordon and his Rangers yet, nor they to move against us. Besides we are working on the Lightspeed project as well as other projects that could benefit Earth. Projects that areï¿½for the GOOD of mankind." Ivy said the last bit with a wicked sneer that Geese quickly picked up on.
"And what's good for mankind is good for us." Geese then added.
"And the Rangers would never move against those who are doing 'good' now would they?" Ivy then added. Clearly Geese had taught her well. And Ivy was an apt pupil.
"Very well. We shall stay out of their path for now." Geese said. "Until the time is right."
Geese and Ivy then made their way to their waiting limo. There was so much to look forward to. For Ivy it was her new life out of Kat's shadow. For Geese it was the chance to advance his own agendas. Agendas that would benefit him and Ivy both.
And if anyone interfered in Geese's plans, well Jeff Bogard could well find some company if it came to that. At the thought of that Geese laughed.
As the 'Cuda roared down the street Cassidy asked her father "Do you think Geese will up and leave?"
"Doubt it sweetheart." Nash answered. "If anything I'd say Geese will be looking for any angle he can find to put anyone who crosses his path on ice. And right now he knows of me, and knows I'll be watching him."
"Do not worry Inspector. I said that you and your family are under my protection from Geese, and I meant it." Laocorn said. Nash thanked him just as his cell phone rang. "Nash!"
Harvey Leek was on the other line. "Nashman I've got some bad news." Nash listened to Harvey speak and nodded sadly. "Keep trying Harvey. Someone's got to listen."
"What's wrong daddy?" Cassidy asked.
"That was Harvey. He said that the request for National Guard reinforcements is being stalled. A. J. has been trying to get some reinforcements to hit that place where you and the Rangers found that way into the Cylon base, but some group of Generals in Washington is sitting on the request wondering if perhaps the request hasï¿½merit."
Laocorn sighed. "I think I know which generals Inspector Leek is talking about. There's a committee in Washington called 'the Jugglers'. They are supposed to be a group that oversee high standing affairs with all the armed forces in America. In truth however they are a crooked group whose sole loyalty is to themselves, and whatever dirty deal they make."
"I take it you've dealt with these 'Jugglers' before?" Nash asked.
Laocorn nodded. "They were responsible for disbanding a special anti-terrorist task force in '94. Fortunately they were able to take down the terrorist organization they were facing before the Jugglers pulled the plug."
"Well we need some sort of back up if we're going to move against the Cylons." Nash said. "What about your own security forces. The chief could have them deputized again."
"Perhaps but we may need something more." Laocorn said. Then a thought hit him as Laocorn picked up his own cell phone and called his office. "Panni, place a call to General Clayton Abernathy. It's important."
"Who's Clayton Abernathy?" Cassidy asked.
"He's known as the Tomahawk." Laocorn answered. "And one of the few honest Generals I've met. If anyone can get you your back up it's him."
"I hope you're right." Nash said as he drove the 'Cuda to the Bogard fire house where he would drop Cassidy off.
At the Cylon installation the Cogitator continued his work. Already the first stage was completed and the DNA samples were synthesized.
Schematics then appeared indicating a humanoidlike superstructure, along with other components being added to it. The Cogitator then reported "Omega Protocols in effect. Unit should be ready soon."
The Zeos and Astros decided that they would sleep at the Bogard firehouse that night. Derik said that they had plenty of room and that it was no bother. "When the family bought this place the cots and blankets came with it. We've got plenty of space to set them up in."
"Thanks Mr. Bogard." Tommy said as the boys set up their cots in an empty room across the family hall. Across the hall the girls set up their cots, all except for Ashley.
"I'm going to room in with Cassidy and Alison tonight. They both said it was okay." Andros nodded and said that they would all be downstairs. Ashley smiled as she went over to her bag in Alison's room and started to unpack it when a presence came in and put a gag over Ashley's mouth. A gag soaked with chloroform.
"Go to sleep!" Kali smirked appearing right behind Ashley as she then drugged her.
"HRmpghh..." Ashley struggled trying to get free, but Kali's grip was too strong. Ashley then dropped unconscious as Kali stood over the unconscious Yellow Astro.
"Can't stay here for long. Bogard will pick up my sudden ki signature soon and I don't fight him just..." Kali then froze as she saw the morpher on Ashley. "Wait a minute! You're not Alison Bogard!"
"No but I am!"
Kali turned around and saw Alison in the door way. "What the hell are you doing with my sister!"
Kali just blinked before she smiled and then started to laugh. "I can't believe this! This is a much better lure than just snaring you to get Terry."
"What are you talking about bitch!" Alison shouted.
"I do think it's time to make an appearance. A rather public appearance..." Kali raised her hand up and purple flames ignited all around the fist.
"Purple flames..." Alison mused but then her eyes went wide as she recognized the style. "Wait a minute! That's Kyo and Iori's move and only Iori's got purple flames! But you can't..."
"YAMI-BARAI!!!" Kali shouted fling her attack through the wall.
All hell was about to break loose.
Downstairs the Zeos and Astros were discussing what Cassidy had to say. "Do you think Laocorn and this General Abernathy will be able to hit the Cylon base?" Tommy asked.
"Laocorn seems to have faith in him." Cassidy said. "He may know some back doors the Jugglers haven't thought of to get daddy the reinforcements he needs. "Just then a sound from upstairs shook everyone out of their complacency.
"What the hell?!" Joe shouted getting of the couch as were everyone else now standing as they saw a purple flames blast right through the top floor.
"Oh my god! That's from Alison's room!" Derik shouted.
"Purple flames?" Andy muttered.
"Andy. You feel it?" Terry asked feeling the dark force. Andy nodded as did Mai, Joe and Mary. Derik had never felt this ki before and wondered who it was.
"Feel what? What are you talking about!" TJ asked.
~Oh god no... It can't be... It's just like Iori... but its NOT him!~ Cassie thought.
"Who ever you are you better get ready to pay for what you did our friends?" Tommy said.
"Don't you mean convenient allies Tommy?"
The Zeos just stood in shock as the dust cleared and then they saw Ashley on the ground and figure wearing something that the Zeo didn't recognize but Terry, his friends and Cassie did.
"Triini?" Tommy asked.
"Not anymore. My name is Kali Yagami." She said stepping out of the shadows drawing gasps by the sight of her purple hair, crimson red eyes and wearing an outfit exactly like Iori Yagami, exact in every detail including the Yagami clan symbol.
"What is this?" Rocky asked. "First Daavid and Kaat get new identities, and now Triini changes her name? Are all the Psycho Rangers having an identity crisis or something?"
"You can't have a problem with something you never had before." Kali said. "But now that I have my own identity, I relish the opportunities that it has provided me with." Kali then decided to show her power as she ignited her purple flames in her hand for everyone to see. Especially Cassie.
~I don't believe it. There's a FEMALE Yagami! I didn't think there were any left and I don't think Kyo or Uncle Saishu knew either!~ Cassie thought to herself.
"I take it you are related to Iori Yagami." Terry said first. Kali smiled nodding. "Iori's my cousin as well as my sister Trini Kwan's cousin. Only recently have I embraced my Yagami heritage..." she then smiled more. "And soon my twin will be come aware of it. You can't fight your destiny."
"I don't know what you are up to Triini but what ever Biilly is planning its not going to work this time." Tommy said.
Kali then let off a hideous laugh. "I'm amused that you would actually think I'm still working with the bastard. You can tell Tyler that Biilly's now got a scar over the opposite eye that Biilly gave him a scar over for life and I gave him that scar."
Seeing everyone not really moving Kali was about to continue when Alison came down the stairs. Her clothes were completely dust soaked now thanks to that explosion and had a few rips. "Hey Terry!"
"Yeah! She's Yagami!" Terry replied.
Alison cursed. "Terrific. That's we needed in life. A female Iori."
"Ahem!" Kali shouted getting their attention. She was about to talk again when she felt something that made her grow angry. She scanned the room looking.
She and Cassie then locked eyes.
~She knowsï¿½~ Cassie thought in realization.
Kali then looked around and then started to laugh. She then started to laugh harder as she then put one of her hands over her face and then laughed uncontrollably.
"Oh she's definitely related to Iori." Joe muttered looking at her.
"I repeat. Female Iori. We did NOT need this considering how bad Iori is." Alison replied remembering the fight from last year's KOF and how furiously Iori and Kyo fought against one another.
"I have an Outsider, I came for Alison Bogard and instead I get her twin, and now I make my entrance... and there's a Kusanagi in the house!" Kali laughed as she leaned up against a wall. "My god! You have given me a great bounty this day!"
They all just stared at her until Tommy got his wits about and said, "An Outsider?!"
Kali then stopped laughing almost on a dime as she straightened up. "Yes. I have an outsider. Her name is Terry Jones. Isn't she your cousin Samantha? Well she might not be for much longer... doctors of darkness like to maim more than they like to heal their patients. Course I had to send her to one after the beating I gave her."
Samantha was about to go at her but then Terry grabbed her arm. "No. Attacking a Yagami head on is the stupidest thing to do."
"Yeah. I tried that I nearly got fried." Alison spoke up remembering how she busted into the room and if it wasn't for the fact that she recognized Kali executing Yami-Barai, she would have kept going toward the blast zone instead of away from it.
"This is my demand. If you ever want to see Ashley Hammond or Terry Jones alive again then within 24 hours at the Golden Gate Bridge, Terry Bogard, Alison Bogard and the member of the Kusanagi family this is in this room will meet me to come to a place of my choosing to settle this affair once and for all." Kali said.
"And if we don't?" Alison asked.
Kali then snapped her fingers, a fire circle appeared and Jinx was in the center. Kali said, "Snap her leg."
Some of them turned away when they saw a shadow hand then go and twist Jinx's leg. They heard her screams and bones breaking. "TERRY!" Samantha shouted as if trying to reach her, but Jinx was oblivious to her. She was only aware of the pain that Kali was inflicting on her. Pain Kali was relishing, not only from Jinx but from Samantha as well.
Kali then waved the image away as she continued to deliver her ultimatum. "Then Ashley Hammond will watch as my followers break Terry Jones apart and kill her slowly and when she is dead..." She then smiled. "They'll repeat the process on Ashley. I'll see you in 24 hours... or be delivering bodies to you in 48 hours from now."
Before anyone could do anything Kali grabbed Ashley and the two girls disappeared in fiery flames.
"ASHLEY!!!" Andros and Alison shouted in unison.
"We've got to get her back!" Tommy said.
"Any ideas?" Joe asked.
"Not really." Terry answered. "Except exceed to Kali's demands."
"That's insane!" Carlos said. "We have no idea if this Kali will even keep her word. If she was a Psycho Rangerï¿½"
"We have to risk it." Rocky said. "And somebody better tell the Outsiders that this Kali has Jinx."
"I'll do it." Cassidy said as she quickly got on the phone with Laocorn to tell him about Jinx. Tommy however turned to Terry and Alison and said "There's no way we can let you go on alone. Ashley is a Ranger and she's our responsibility." Andros was about to raise a hand in protest but Sabrina shook her head no as if saying that Tommy was right.
"I had hoped you would come." Terry said. "Stay behind a good distance though will you?"
"No problem. We'll be there." Tommy said. Looking at the Zeos, they all nodded in agreement. Andros turned to his Astro team and they to agreed. But when Sabrina looked around she noticed that one of their team was missing,
"Hey! Where's Cassie?" Sabrina asked.
Andros looked for her but then saw nothing. "Where is she?"
"I don't know. She was here a second ago." Adam added.
TJ then blinked. "Guys... you don't think that this Kusanagi that Kali said was here..."
"... was Cassie?" Andros finished.
At the Outsiders penthouse the vid phone activated and Nate took the call.
Laocorn quickly disclosed the information Cassidy had shared with him. About Kali appearing, taking off with Ashley, and more importantly taking Jinx hostage. Nate then called forth the other Outsiders and relayed all Laocorn had said.
"Who's Kali?" Lillian asked.
"Apparently Kali is none other than the former Psycho Ranger replica Triini Kwan." Nate explained. "Apparently Kali is part of an evil bloodline that worships a dark god, and Triini has embraced her newfound heritage."
Jamie then asked the next question. A very important one. "Guys, if this Kali is part of an evil bloodline and if she was created as a replica of Trini Kwanï¿½. what does this say about Trini herself?"
The Outsiders were stunned not sure how to answer the question. And more importantly, how do they get Jinx out of the clutches of Kali?
In the underground base in San Francisco the Cylons were overseeing the dismantling process. Since the Rangers found the location Specter advised Psycho Silver that the base would be compromised and that a new location would have to be found.
"A location has been provided in the Transwarp portals. Transfer all equipment there." She ordered. Specter then had to offer one last piece of advice.
"You are aware the evacuation still has a day or two left to complete." Specter said. Psycho Silver nodded in agreement but still told Specter to do the work anyway. "You'll be able to complete it in the time allotted. By the time anyone comes to attack our position we'll be long gone."
"By your command." Specter said before leaving.
Iblis then appeared by Psycho Silver's side. "I see you have stabilized the powers." he said after looking over the Psycho Silver uniform, and found that the morph had not destabilized yet.
"They are just doing the job they have to do, and soon I'll be ready." Psycho Silver said. "I trust the SFPD will be coming soon?"
"They are experiencingï¿½difficulties trying to get support from the National Guard. A committee of generals isï¿½debating the matter of supplying the police with assistance." Iblis said with a smirk. Psycho Silver looked at her mentor and saw the smirk on his face. "You had something to do with that didn't you?"
"Not directly. But by the time the SFPD gets the back up it needs it will be too late." Iblis said as he then felt another presence enter the room. A presence of another ally who spoke to Psycho Silver.
"I hope you are enjoying my old morpher now."
Psycho Silver turned around as Kali walked into the private room reserved for Iblis and Josie. Psycho Silver thought of Kali as Trini for a moment but then thought differently when Kali dropped into place the unconscious body of Ashley Hammond and then made Jinx, who was very battered looking, appear out of nowhere.
"Silver suits you as black and blues suit these two Rangers." Kali said to Josie.
"Who... or what are you?" Psycho Silver asked.
"Kali Yagami, Trini Kwan's twin sister." Kali replied before bowing before Iblis. "And humble servant to Count Iblis."
Silver looked into Iblis's calming eyes and saw nothing to fear from Kali. "So why haven't you killed these rangers already?"
Kali tsked at her. "My dear girl these are not prize... they are the bait."
"Bait?" Iblis asked wondering exactly what Kali was planning but had a rough idea.
"Tomorrow at the Golden Gate Bridge I've set up a sort of exchange to our two captives." Kali replied. "Knowing the rangers they will be close by ready to ambush me as they do in situations such as this." She then smiled looking at Psycho Silver. "... however..."
Psycho Silver smiled under her mask. "We shall set the ambush for them. They think you are all alone and not linked my forces." Kali nodded. "Yes. This is perfect."
"So glad you agree." Kali replied.
Psycho Silver then felt tired as a weakness overtook her and she demorphed to her Circuit Breaker form. "Are you all right my child?" Iblis asked.
"Yes." Circuit Breaker said. "I've just been trying to perform an experiment with the morpher and my mobility suit. I'm hoping to use the powers of both to jumpstart the Ranger healing which will heal me of my paralysis. So I don't have to use the suitï¿½or a wheelchair to move around anymore." Josie said the last part about a wheelchair with great distain. She clearly wanted to be free of using any sort of device to help her move along, and she had no doubt that she would be soon.
"It sounds like it's taking a lot of power out of you." Kali said.
"If the healing is supposed to work like it should then it will need all the power it can get, even if it comes from me." Circuit Breaker said with determination fighting through her exhaustion. "I think I shall go to sleep. Let the procedure do its work."
"Do that my child. You will need your rest tomorrow." Iblis said.
"Yes... tomorrow revenge will be mine." Josie said leaving Iblis and Kali together. Iblis then turned on Kali angrily. "She wasn't supposed to know about you!"
"But she trusts me now doesn't she?" Kali replied calmly looking at Iblis. "Besides I can't have her getting in MY way now. Not when the King of Fighters Tournament is only a month away. I can't allow her to kill Trini."
Iblis blinked at her wondering what she was getting at but then realized it. "You actually think the Riot of Blood will change her that much?"
"It did for me didn't it?" Kali said.
"Most of the people who carry Orochi's blood when they undergo the Riot become berserkers and only for a time. It's not permanent like in your case." Iblis said.
"True... but still Trini's ultimate fate and mine are intertwined. That much I know." Kali said to Iblis. "In any case, when I see her undergo her first Riot, then I'll know how to work to bring her over to my side."
"You may be the Vessel Kali but don't make assumptions of your power. You can only go so far." Iblis said.
"Yes... and Terry Bogard is stronger than I am. Which is the other purpose of my bait. To get him, his cousin..." her voice then turned to anger. "... and most of all Cassie Chan."
Iblis was smiling knowing this would be a prime chance to eliminate one of the Earth's strongest fighters but then went blank at the last part. "Wait. Why this interest in the Pink Astro Ranger?"
Kali looked back at Iblis her face in hate. "Have you felt it! The girl is of Kusanagi blood! Of Susano-oh of the House of Kobol's Blood!" Iblis's eyes went wide at the mention of Susano-oh, and that one of the House of Kobol got involved in Cassie's family history.
Kali had learned now since joining Goentiz and the Orochi, before Orochi had fought against the three clans, he, a member of the House of Iblis, had fought against Susano-oh, a member of the House of Kobol. In the end of their battle both were spent but while Orochi went into the Void, Susano-oh came down to earth where he came specifically that land that would be known as Japan.
As Susano-Oh arrived on Earth a traveler was being robbed. He tried to fight back but a twist of fate allowed a robber to stab him leaving the traveler to die. Susano-Oh went to the traveler and joined his essence with that of the traveler's. The traveler was then healed and Susano-Oh had a new human form for which he could wander the Earth with. This act also had a genetic effect on the traveller's body as his DNA was altered and would carry on through his descendents.
In his travels Susano-Oh came to meet a woman known as Princess Kushinda, for which he fell in love with. They married and had a family whose children would form bloodlines of incredible power centuries from that time.
After many years together Susanno-Oh neared the end of his mortal life and then imparted his power into the earth when he finally went to sleep. In doing this act he became one with the earth. Princess Kushinda passed on shortly after that. It was believed that both their souls found each other in the afterlife.
About 1800 years ago Orochi had come to earth to cleanse it of humanity. In the end he fought against the three clans that had the blood of Susano-oh in them each of different aspects. Against these fighters Orochi was defeated yet not killed. He was sealed away for what was thought to be forever.
However that was not to be. Orochi watched from his prison and saw the jealousy brewing in the Hasshaku clan. Jealousy over the Kusanagi clan. Orochi made temptations to them in their dreams and then 660 ago they broke the seal and had their blood become one with Orochi. No longer could they call upon the crimson flames or power that had come from Susano-oh. Now their flames were purple and of the Void, the power of Orochi. With this act the Hasshaku became the Yagami.
Kali thought that with Kyo being the only Kusanagi that they knew for certain was still alive that had power over the Kusanagi flames that they could take their time with Kyo.
~Especially since Master Goentiz already defeated Kyo. Why he let him live just so he could challenge him a year hence is beyond my understanding?~ She then thought. She then looked at Iblis who hadn't said anything. "WELL? What do you have to say Count Iblis!"
For Iblis it was a chance of a lifetime. A chance to get back at one of his hated bretheren and to destroy the good they sought to achieve. Before his exile Iblis knew of Susano-Oh. He was brash, headstrong and had radical ideas, but no one doubted his devotion to the doctrines of the Lords. When his follower Orochi went to confront Susano-Oh Susano left a legacy behind in the form of three families touched by the power of Earth mixed in with the Kobollian power while Orochi had no such legacy until he subverted one of the three noble families to his cause. Iblis smiled at the thought of Susano's legacy, or an aspect of it, subverted to his vision. But the legacy still existed in the Kusanagi.
A legacy that could well threaten his plans, and one he would take great pleasure in being destroyed. If not for himself or Kali, then to give a crippling blow to his brethren. The same brethren who exiled him and his followers.
"Very well Kali. You can have Cassie Chan. With my full blessing." Iblis stressed the last phrase indicating that he wanted Kali to hold nothing back as she released her hatred on Cassie. A hatred that was in her blood, and went back generations.
"I'm going to enjoy fighting the Kusanagi bitch." Kali said raising her right fist and had her flames engulf it. "She'll come... it's in her blood. The blood of the feud that will never die until one of us is eradicated." She then smiled. "I can hardly wait."
At this moment Specter had entered and spoke to Iblis. "The project is almost completed. It should arrive shortly."
"Excellent. Resume evacuation efforts. I shall inform Josie of it when it arrives."
"By your command." Specter said bowing. Kali looked at Iblis with curiosity. "May I ask what you are planning?"
"You may. But I don't wish to give the answer just yet. Josie will be the first to know." Kali smiled knowing that whatever Iblis had in mind could only spell doom for the Rangers.
"As long as she doesn't interfere with me killing the Kusanagi bitch. She's mine."
"She won't." Iblis vowed. "I promise that."
The Kusanagi in question was at home now, thanks to using the Megaship's teleporters to get her home.
~I don't believe this! A Yagami! Of all times! And she's got Ashley! If I had only come to terms with this sooner!~ Cassie cried in her mind through rage and tears as she went into her closet and pulled up the carpet. She then undid floor boards and pulled out a chest. In this chest were things that her cousin Kyo had given to her that she didn't want her mother to see.
~I never wanted to be part of this blood feud but I guess that can't be helped. But one thing is clear. ~ Cassie thought to herself. ~ We make our own destinies... and right now I chose to accept who and what I am. It's time to face up to all that I've done and the consequences that will come from them. ~ She then breathed and told herself it was time to get started as she opened the chest.
The first thing she pulled out specialized red gloves.
Specialized Kusanagi gloves.
Megumi Chan was now arriving home from work. She was wondering what to cook for dinner tonight for her family as well as of her family across the world.
~I think I should take up Reika's invitation to come visit them all in Japan. It's been so long since I've seen my old home. I wonder if... ~ Megumi then stopped as she felt something so familiar. A force she had buried so deep into herself and that others of her Kusanagi family had. ~ It's not Kyo and It's not my brother so... ~ Her eyes lit up as she ran up the stairs. "CASSANDRA CHAN!!!" she shouted as she got to her daughter's door and then broke it open.
Standing in the center of the room was Cassie. But now she was wearing a blue jacket, a pink shirt under it, and blue pants but the blue jacket had the symbol of the sun on it. The symbol of the Kusanagi Clan and on her hands with the Kusanagi gloves. She then raised her right hand and then it was engulfed in crimson fire.
"Oh noï¿½Cassieï¿½noï¿½NO!!!ï¿½" Megumi said.
Cassie looked at her mother. "... I'm sorry mother."
"... Cassandra... why... why did you do it!" Megumi asked trying to get the words out. "Why?!"
"Because I can't save my friends as Cassie Chan... LET'S ROCKET!!!" Cassie then sent morphing into the Pink Astro Ranger before her mother's eyes. "Not even as the Pink Astro Ranger." She said powering down back to her normal look. "The only way I can stop the one called Kali Yagami is to become what you didn't want me to be... a true Kusanagi."
"Cassandra what are you talking about? Who is Kali?" Megumi questioned.
"Iori Yagami's cousin. She's attacked me and my friends and I never showed anyone, not even my own teammates, my powers or any of my Kusanagi fighting techniques. I didn't tell you because I didn't want to have the Yagami coming after me, you and dad!" Cassie shouted. "But somehow she felt me and she knows who and what I am. I won't let her harm you mom. I won't."
"Cassie..." Megumi muttered speechless as Cassie then hugged her mother.
"Yell at me and punish me when I get back... I have to save my friends from this psycho... and I promise you..." She said looking into her mother's eyes. "She'll never come after our family. Ever." With that she moved away and teleported out.
Megumi Kusanagi Chan could only stare at where her daughter had been. After sitting down on her daughter's bed for a while she then picked up her phone.
~When you get home Cassie... you're going to be seeing ALL of your family. ~ Megumi thought as a voice picked up.
Kyo Kusanagi was stunned to say the least when he heard his aunt Megumi call on the phone. Usually all she called here for was to talk to his mother. ~ Or check up on dad. I'm not sure when he's ever going to show up. ~
Right now he was wearing his school uniform, which he doubled for his fighting attire. Green pants wearing a green jacket over a white shirt and having a white headband around his head. Short brown hair framed his face. "Aunt Megumi?"
"Kyo... have you heard of a Kali Yagami?"
Kyo was taken aback by the question. "Kali... no. Why?"
"She's Iori's cousin and she's attacked Cassie and her friends. And I know now you've been training her against my wishes behind my back." That last part was stressed with anger.
Kyo meanwhile couldn't believe it. ~ A female Yagami... I thought Iori was the only Yagami left alive!~
"I thought you should know... that Cassie is going after her now... to fight her." Megumi said.
Kyo just let his hand drop as he heard the news. "... I'll be in the States as soon as I can." He heard the phone hang up. Kyo then leaned up against the wall. ~ Cassie... what are you thinking?~ he thought. He had taught Cassie when he could about the Kusanagi style, but compared to him, she was a novice. If this Yagami was anything like Iori, Cassie wouldn't have a chance. Cassie had been only practicing for two years where he had been training since birth in the art.
~And then I spent the last six months training in isolation to perfect the art~ Kyo said looking at his hands. He wore fighting gloves but they were just plain ordinary fighting gloves. He no longer needed the specialized Kusanagi gloves to control his power since he had mastered it. ~ Its ironic the way I learned how to master it... I had to get the crap kicked out of me and left with only an inch of my life left by a man who's name I don't even know. ~ Kyo thought back to the day nearly a year ago when a mysterious man attacked him after school and beat him with in an inch of his life. He left him alive only to see if Kyo had grown stronger and that they would meet again at the King of Fighters Tournament of 1997.
~And now a month before the tournament, a female Yagami attacks my cousin who has now revealed and embraced her Kusanagi blood. Something big is coming. Something very big. And it's connected to the tournament. ~ Kyo thought to himself as he looked over at the sun.
~I wish I could help you cousin but this time I don't know if I'll be able to find you in time... be safe Cassie. ~ Kyo thought to himself. He went to go talk to his mother and prepare to go to America.
But all the time he couldn't stop thinking about the sense of doom that was in around him. The burning sensation in his blood of tremendous battles about to be fought. But most of all, the very ominous feeling he felt once as a child when he had been with relatives.
The feeling of approaching death.
The Cogitator looked in a specialized tube as the creation was nearing completion. Programming was being downloaded into it as well as protocols, historical data and everything else that it would need. When this was finally done the Cogitator then contacted Specter on Earth.
"The unit has been completed." The Cogitator said.
"Excellent. Prepare for our arrival within the centon." Specter said.
"By your command." The Cogitator said as it cut transmission.
Back at the Cylon base the villain known as both Psycho Silver and Circuit Breaker slept.
But for Josie Belle her sleep was all but sound as her mind struggled with inner turmoil.
Josie found herself in another world. A world full of luminescence. In this world she was not bound by the wheelchair, nor by circuit implants or stolen powers. Here she was whole. Here she was healed.
Here was where her sister was waiting, and was calling out to her.
Josie heard the voice, but could not believe it. Even when she turned around and saw the face dressed in white robes she still could not believe it. "Jessie?" she said with her voice barely a whisper.
Jessie Belle stood off to the side. Her beauty seemed to radiate throughout the realm as she nodded to her sister. "Yes, it's me."
"I am dead yes. But death isn't exactly how one thinks it is. In fact when I died I ascended to a higher plane of existence. A place of peace and love. Knowledge and wisdom. Every one of us has the potential to ascend to higher planes of existence. I was fortunate enough to reach mine just in time."
Josie then let her tears fall down her face. She had wanted to see her sister again. Alive. And now, here was her chance. She reached out to hug Jessie but only found herself passing through Jessie's body. Josie turned back to Jessie and asked "How? How did I pass through you?"
"Because unlike me. You are still very much alive. "Jessie's smile then faded and a look of sadness crossed her face. "This is not fair." Josie said.
"No it isn't." Jessie agreed. "But that is beside the point. I have come for another reason. To warn you."
"Warn me?" Josie asked.
"Of your campaign against the Rangers. Please Josie, abandon this foolish quest. There is nothing that can be gained from it but only pain and suffering. And if you continue to follow it you will know nothing but sorrow."
Josie couldn't believe Jessie's words. "But Jessie. I'm doing this for you. For us."
"My death was not the Rangers' fault." Jessie said. "They couldn't save me. But I hope that at least I can save you."
"THEY COULDN'T SAVE YOU?!!!" Josie said in disbelief. "They couldn't save me either. I was paralyzed because of them. You were killed because of them."
"No. It was the Machine Empire that paralyzed you. And it was Robert Harper that killed me. The Rangers tried to save us both."
"They didn't do a good job did they?" Josie said. Jessie heard the tone in Josie's voice. It was so full of hatred and malice. No rationale. No reason. Only grief and pain.
"Josie listen to yourself. You have become so fixated on the Rangers you have closed yourself off to everything else. All you do is plan how to destroy the Rangers, and in the process kill millions of others or bring the same suffering you say we have suffered onto others. You are following a dark path, and it will only damn you.
"I almost gave into my anger. Anger at the Rangers, anger at you, anger at the Machines that ruined our lives. And just before I died I was fortunate to let go of that anger, because if I had kept it I would have never ascended. I would have become a dark servant. Just as you are becoming now."
"Dark servant?" Josie asked in disbelief. "Dark servant of who?"
Jessie answered in one word. "Iblis."
Josie was shocked to hear this. "Iblis? But he's always been so good to me. He gave me my powers. He helped me to walk. He gave me an armyï¿½"
"ï¿½of corrupted machines." Jessie said. "I know all about the Cylons. More than you may ever know. I know that they embraced technology. I know they created the machine Cylons. But do you know who led them down that path? Iblis."
Jessie continued to explain. "I know where the Cylons come from. And how they became what they were. Iblis created them after he and his followers were banished from the House of Kobol eons ago. He took DNA from himself to alter the reptilian Cylons' evolutionary path. A cloning process that made Cylon females obsolete. And a race of machines who's sole objective is nothing more than total destruction of everything. Including humanity."
Josie shook her head in disbelief. "Noï¿½lies. You can't be telling me the truth."
"Josie I'm not lying to you" Jessie said in a pleading voice. "Iblis saw the Cylons as a means to an end. To get revenge against the Lords of Kobol for banishing him. And even though he got his revenge to an extent, he won't be satisfied until all humanity follows his lead into darkness."
"Wait. You're confusing me. First you say Iblis wants to destroy people. Then you say he wants to lead them?Which is it?" Josie seemed to be getting more and more confused but Jessie had no time to explain.
For he had arrived.
His form filled the whole dreamscape dwarfing Jessie and Josie. Jessie couldn't help but look up and see Iblis's massive form looking down at her. "Do you truly think you can confuse my follower? She has given herself to me willingly."
"You are a parasite!" Jessie shouted in defense. "You preyed upon her grief and sadness and made her your weapon!"
"Still it is her choice and she has chosen me. And I do not wish to destroy humanity. I wish to save it." Iblis continued to speak smoothly, as if rationalizing every decision he had ever made.
"Humanity doesn't need your kind of salvation. All you bring is pain and death." Jessie continued to challenge Iblis in a battle of words. She may have been newly empowered by her death, but there were still laws with her power that she could not break. Nor could she hope to prevail against the monster before her even if she did use it. He had eons of experience with his power as well as a greater level than she ever had.
"I saved the Cylons didn't I? I saved your sister didn't I? If it wasn't for me she would be drowning in grief now."
"She's still drowning in grief. All you have done is give her a means to express that grief and cause so much suffering in the process."
"Suffering? I thought they were being saved. Isn't death the path to salvation?" Jessie couldn't believe what she was hearing. Iblis continued to spin her words so they came out to his advantage. "Some have ascended to your level even."
"And some have descended to yours. Some that could have been saved."
"They have been. By your sisterï¿½and me."
Jessie turned her gaze back to Josie and pleaded with her one last time. "Josie please don't listen to him. Turn away. Renounce him. Don't let him destroy you!Please Josie!"
Josie Belle looked at both her sister and Iblis. Both had their hands out waiting for her to take one of them. But she was so confused. Was Jessie telling her the truth? Was Iblis the monster she made him out to be?But Iblis had been so kind to her. He helped her to walk. He empowered her so she could get revenge on her enemies. Josie owed Iblis so much. But Jessie was her sister. Who could she choose?"
"Josie come." Iblis said in a soft gentle tone.
"Josie please come with me." Jessie said with her voice full of hope. Josie looked at the choices both presented to her and made her choice.
She chose Iblis.
And she took his hand.
"No!" Jessie shouted as Iblis led Josie away. For a moment Josie turned around, sadness in her eyes as if on some level she knew the path she was on would lead to her damnation. But it was one she had to follow nonetheless.
"I'm sorry Jessie. I've chosen my path, and I can't go back." Iblis then turned around and sneered at Jessie. "You've lost her." was the last thing he said before Josie returned to the waking world.
Circuit Breaker woke from her restless sleep. Iblis was by her side ready to sooth her troubles. "Shush child. It was only a dream."
"It seemed so real." Circuit Breaker said. "My sister was there. And youï¿½"
"I was able to lead you back. Iblis said with reassurance. "You were almost lost within your own mind."
Circuit Breaker grabbed her Psycho Silver morpher nearby and looked up at Iblis smiling. "I am so glad to have a friend like you. You keep me safe. You heal my pain. You give me a purpose."
"Your purpose is my purpose." Iblis said. "I want nothing but the best for you.
Circuit Breaker nodded. "And right now I want my revenge against the Rangers."
"And you shall have it. Look." Circuit Breaker looked at her arm and took off the part of the suit that covered it. She was able to move it again. Clenching her fingers and moving the arm backwards and forewards. "Keep going." Iblis said.
Bit by bit the armor was removed. And each time a body part moved. For the first time Josie Belle stood on her own. The powers she had now healed her. "I'm I'm healed." Josie said in surprise.
"And when you mmrph again the powers you had as Circuit Breaker will join those of Psycho Silver. Those powers are yours again." Josie thanked Iblis for all he had done, but the Count wasn't finished yet.
"Come, I have a gift for you." Iblis said as he offered his hand to Josie. A hand offered like a loving father would to his daughter.
A hand Josie gladly took sealing her fate.
And far away from her sister's reach Jessie Belle cried.
At the portal site the S. I. U. , some of Laocorn's security forces and some National Guardsmen had arrived to enter the Cylon base only to find that the portal wouldn't open. "Boss are you sure about this?" Harvey Leek asked.
"Positive bubba. My sources told me that this was an entrance to the Cylon's base." Nash answered.
"Well if it was here before it isn't here now." Joe Dominguez answered. Just then Evan Cortez came up with a map.
"Nash I found that map you were looking for. It's supposed to be a map of forgotten tunnels that were supposedly under San Francisco. It's a safe bet that this is what those tin cans used for their base."
"Great work Evan." Nash said. "Have you found another entry point?"
"Yeah two Feds led a detachment from Seacliff to an entry point. All they saw was an bedroom and a lot of empty space."
"They cleaned out the joint?" Nash asked in disbelief.
"If there was a sign of the Cylon base there before there isn't one now." Evan said. "The feds have headed back to Washington." Nash then felt very uneasy. They went to hit the Cylon base only to find a dry well. When he got back to the S. I. U. Nash would be sure to call Gen. Abernathy for help, even though the well was dry.
"If I didn't know any better Nash I'd say the Cylons left town." Harvey said.
Nash however wasn't relieved to hear that in the slightest. "Don't be so sure bubba." He said as he got in the 'Cuda and drove away.
Truth be told the Cylons weren't far away. In fact they would be coming back in force.
Inside the lab Specter entered to where the Cogitator was ready to unveil it's newest creation. "Your arrival is very timely Specter." The Cogitator said. "We have recently finished the Omega Project."
"Excellent." Specter said. "I trust some suitable garb has been chosen for it?"
A selection of clothes had been laid out on a nearby table. The creation went to put on the garments which looked black with silver trim. They seemed to be of an alien fabric but they fit well over the creation's form.
"Excellent. Our commander will be arriving shortly. She will be most interested in seeing you." Specter told the new creation.
The creation bowed before Specter and said in a soothing voice "By your command."
A red ball of light flew away from Earth. On it were Count Iblis and Josie Belle. The energy kept the vacuum of space outside allowing Josie to breath. "Isn't Kali joining us?"
"She will join us later. Right now I have something to show you." Iblis guided the ball of energy across the expanses of space until they came across a structure that was entering Earth's solar system. It looked like two saucers welded together. Each saucer had four openings on it as well as an array of weapons on it that could lay waste to any planet it came across. Including Earth, if it had to.
"A gift from the Cylon Empire. A gift for you. One of many. Iblis said about the technological terror that he just presented to Josie. A terror that would ensure the destruction of the Rangers.
The ultimate weapon against the Rangers had arrived.
And Circuit Breaker looked on at the Cylon Base Star filling her field of vision.
Death was approaching.
On the balcony of her father's apartment Cassidy looked out at the skyline. Alison walked up to her friend. "Penny for your thoughts?"
"Just that I wish I was going with you." Cassidy said with Alison nodding in agreement. "I hope five minutes distance will be enough hang back time."
"Even if it isn't don't worry. Terry and I have had experience with the Yagami, as has Cassie wherever she is. I hope she'll be there." Cassidy sensed Alison's discomfort and she hugged her friend as if offering reassurance. "Ashley will be fine. You've got Rangers and Outsiders watching your back. Terry and Ashley will be okay."
"Yeah well, I think I'd better think of something to call the other Terry, because for me there's only one Terry, and that's Terry Bogard." Cassidy couldn't help but smile. Alison was really devoted to her cousin. "I hear the name 'Jinx' was thrown around. Must have been a childhood nickname."
"Well if it works." Cassidy said. "Take care."
"Thanks Cass. You're the best." Alison then walked off the balcony and down the elevator to where Terry Bogard, the Outsiders and the Astro Rangers all waited. Cassidy was left on the balcony looking out at the skyline. The odd feeling of something else about to happen weighed heavily on her mind.
And not far away an image watched Cassidy. An image invisible to human eyes.
An image that was Jessie Belle, who looked down at her chosen successor.
"So you're my successor." Jessie said in a tone no one could hear. "I pray that you and the other Rangers will be strong enough to stand up to the coming darkness" She paused and added one more thing before fading away completely.
"And that you can save my sister from the dark path she is being led down."
Jessie Belle was completely gone leaving only her hope in Cassidy Bridges behind. Whether she could live up to that hope is a story for another time.
A time that is coming soon.
Josie looked at the basestar and was surprised and impressed by the construction. She also saw the fleet of Cylon Raider craft which served as her ship's fighter compliment. "An amazing vessel." she said. "And it's mine?"
"All yours. Including the raiders and Centurions that fly them." Iblis said as Specter and the Cogitator appeared at the hatchway leading to the central core. Josie then turned around and said "Speak."
"The evacuation has been completed." Specter said. "All Cylon components have been transferred to our basestar, and we await rendezvous with additional ships."
"Additional ships?" Josie asked.
"The Imperious Leader believed that with additional ships present that the Rangers would have no chance of escape. Also with the number of Rangers stationed on Earth he believed that additional resources would be needed." Specter stated. "Two more base ships will rendezvous with us shortly."
"Anything else?" Josie asked. She got the feeling Specter had something else to say.
"One other thing. Count Iblis had commissioned a special project to be completed for you." Specter backed away leaving the core hatchway open allowing the creation to walk through. When Josie saw what the creation was, she could not believe her eyes. "How?ï¿½" was all she was able to say.
"I was able to procure a DNA sample from your home and use it to reconstruct her." Iblis had said. "There are some Cylon components to her, but she is the person you remember.
Josie didn't know what else to say so the creation said the first words. "Hi Josie. I'm back."
Josie found herself staring at her sister Jessie Belle, apparently brought back by Cylon science. Josie was so overwhelmed with emotion that she went and hugged her 'sister'. A hug 'Jessie' returned.
"I thought you were gone forever." Josie said. "I dreamt you were lying to me."
"Just a dream." 'Jessie' said. "The Cylons brought me back to help you. To help make the Rangers pay for what they did to us."
Josie smiled as she and 'Jessie' made their way to the control core with Specter and Iblis following behind. The end of the Rangers was close at hand.
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